Nurses and midwives stand up for safety

UNITED: Whyalla Hospital nurses and midwives have taken a stand, calling on the state government to take immediate action to address violence in health care.
UNITED: Whyalla Hospital nurses and midwives have taken a stand, calling on the state government to take immediate action to address violence in health care.

Local nurses and midwives today joined thousands of public sector health staff campaigning for the state government to take further action to address violence and aggression in health care.

The campaign comes after several attacks at the Whyalla Hospital this year, including in May when three nurses were assaulted within a week and a Code Black was called.

Members of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) SA Branch participated in rolling demonstrations across SA Health worksites, wearing stickers demonstrating how the absence of a plan to address violence is impacting on nursing and midwifery staff.

ANMF SA Branch CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM says the rolling worksite action will continue until the 'Steven Marshall Government steps up to protect its health care employees'.

"This on-the-ground action will progress through every Local Health Network in the public system until the State Government makes a firm commitment to act on measures that reflect the principles of the anti-violence plan successfully operating in Victoria," she said.

The Ten-Point Plan to End Violence and Aggression in Health Care developed originally by the ANMF Victorian Branch includes the following overarching principles:

  1. Improve security
  2. Identify risks to staff and others
  3. Include patients and their families in care planning
  4. Report, investigate and act
  5. Prevent violence through workplace design
  6. Educate staff
  7. Integrate legislation, policies and procedures
  8. Provide post-incident support
  9. Apply consistent approach to violence across disciplines
  10. Empower staff to expect a safe workplace.

"We gave the State Government a blueprint to address violence almost a year ago, yet the only commitment they have given to us is the establishment of a new committee. Nurses and midwives need and deserve a lot more than that. The community in their care deserves a lot more than that."

"Until our members can attend work safe in the knowledge that their employer is committed to eliminating violence and aggression in their health care setting, nurses and midwives will continue to campaign and call on Steven Marshall and Stephen Wade to act."

In a statement, Flinders and Upper North Local Health Network (FUHNLHN) CEO Ros McRae said the FUNLHN are progressing several initiatives to improve safety for staff.

"The Management of Actual or Potential Aggression (MAPA) training is being rolled out to all frontline staff across FUNLHN, with an external training provider engaged to deliver practical Code Black training to staff in Emergency Departments following a review of the Code Black Procedure for the sites," she said.

"Additional training in aggression, violence and de-escalation techniques will help staff better prepare to deal with difficult situations in the workplace.

"We are consistently supporting staff to report and when appropriate progress criminal charges against perpetrators of aggression and violence in our workplace.

"We have also been working closely with SAPOL to improve response times to Code Clack incidents in Whyalla, while additional portable and hardwired duress alarms have been made available in various locations across FUNLHN."